Debris from superstorm Sandy sits in front of a home...

Debris from superstorm Sandy sits in front of a home in Ocean Beach. (Feb. 7, 2013) Credit: Ed Betz

Since Sandy, there have been plenty of disagreements between property owners and insurance companies. Determining what caused damage and how much it will take to fix it can be contentious. So in February, the state launched a mediation program to let homeowners challenge settlements if they believed an insurer wrongly denied or underpaid a claim.

Companies must participate in the mediation unless they suspect fraud. But one Long Island insurance company appears to be taking advantage of that clause, according to state officials. Of the 36 instances in which a company has alleged fraud, 31 have come from Tri-State Consumer Insurance Co. of Jericho. And fraud has been ruled out in nearly all those cases. The investigation into Tri-State continues, but surely customers shouldn't be treated this way.

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